Posts Tagged ‘AVRO’

Arrow Anniversary This Week – Has Much Changed?

arrow_dview1.jpgThe Toronto Star had an interesting article regarding one of Canada’s engineering achievements, the AVRO ARROW.  A product of the Cold War it was designed to be Canada’s answer to protecting America from Northern threats as a supersonic all weather interceptor/bomber.   Ahead of its time (the Arrow could fly at twice the speed of sound – faster than our current fleet of CF-18s) the plane was even a potential export to our Allies (though the US or the UK weren’t interested in purchasing foriegn produced aircraft).  In any case it was a world class plane.

It was all for nothing in the end.  John Diefenbaker, the Conservative PM from the west, decided that despite AVRO being the the third largest corporation in Canada, employing some 41,000 people, that the Arrow project should be cancelled.  Many conspiracy theories exist as to why Canada’s National Defence and soveriegnty were trumped in this case.  (RL Whitcomb has an opinion as do many others)  Was it PM Diefenbaker’s way of improving American relations after to committing to NORAD?  Was the project costing Canadian taxpayers too much for what was delivered?  We may never know.

It will be interesting to see if MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd, MDA,  is sold off in the coming days or weeks.  So far opponents have delayed the sale. Considering that the US and now Russia are limiting foreign ownership of key industries why can’t we do the same?  Have concerns about sovereignty and protecting the North really changed?  If the Conservatives allow the maker of the Canadarm and the recently launched Radarsat-2 satellite to be sold off they may be following the footsteps of Diefenbaker’s Conservatives.  After all renting (or have a contract to use) our locally developed technology is not the same as owning it.

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